JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska —
The human race may not survive long enough to witness the end of the Earth, but recycling may be able to extend its lifetime and help ensure future generations get the chance to experience the planet’s natural beauty.
The recycling center at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, assists the base community in recycling and conserving resources and spreads awareness of the impact recycling can have on the environment and planet.
Waste and what people choose to do with it has an impact on the Earth, said Rhonda Pray, 673d Civil Engineer Squadron environmental engineer. Recycling is a means for JBER residents to avoid depositing waste into landfills, and to preserve our natural resources so the next generation can enjoy the land.
Many people don’t know JBER has a recycling program, Pray added. By following the three R’s – reduce, reuse and recycle – people can eliminate waste and protect the environment.
Recycling is the process of converting waste materials into new materials and objects. It is an alternative to conventional waste disposal that can save material and help lower greenhouse gas emissions. Reducing the amount of material used or waste created in a process, and also helps reusing is a material multiple times, for example, using concrete rubble for erosion control.
There are an estimated 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris currently in the oceans, according to the findings of a group of scientists from the nonprofit advocacy group 5 Gyres. Plastic in the ocean poses a threat to wildlife, from deep sea creatures to ducks floating on top of the water.
According to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, people can reduce waste by selecting products that are not wasteful in their packaging. Each reusable bag can eliminate hundreds of single-use plastic or paper bags.
The Environmental Protection Agency says recycling conserves energy and natural resources. Recycling one ton of office paper can save the energy equivalent of consuming 322 gallons of gasoline.
Recycling just one ton of aluminum cans conserves more than 152 million British thermal units, the equivalent of 1,024 gallons of gasoline or 21 barrels of oil. Recycling just 10 plastic bottles saves enough energy to power a laptop for more than 25 hours.
There are various locations throughout JBER where residents can put their unused products to good use, Pray said.
The JBER Recycling Center is open Mondays and Wednesdays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. People can drop off scrap metals, cardboard and aluminum at Building 952 on Warehouse Road.
People can deposit cardboard and aluminum at the large brown recycling bins at each Army and Air Force Exchange Service on base.
For more information on items that are recyclable, visit http://www.jber.jb.mil/Services-Resources/Environmental/Recycling.aspx.